On Tuesday, May 20, the fates of 14 NBA teams hang in the balance when the league conducts its annual draft lottery.
For clubs desperate to land one of the top three picks in the hopes that Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid might be the next LeBron James (2003 No. 1), Kevin Durant (2007 No. 2) or Tim Duncan (1997 No. 1), there's still reason to be optimistic if the pingpong balls don't bounce their way.
Since its inception in 1985, a great number of players taken later in the lottery have produced spectacular NBA careers—they are the steals.
In addition to a player's accolades, other factors come into account when ranking the top steals in draft lottery history. The number at which he was chosen as well as the quality of players selected before him must be considered.
For example, while nobody would think Paul Pierce (1998 No. 10) has had a better career than Kevin Garnett (1995 No. 5), Pierce outranks Garnett on this list because he was drafted later, and with several regrettable picks in front of him.